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Jan 19, 2012 08:19 PM

Washing chicken

I pat dry chicken before I brown or roast it but I know some people who wash chicken before cooking.
When I ask them why they say it's to get them clean. The chicken is not brined. It's right from the grocery store package. What would be the purpose? Seems to me that one would just have a sink to disinfect.

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  1. Because their mother did it, and her mother did it, and her mother did it.....

    1 Reply
    1. I think that the current thinking is that, as you suspect, washing a chicken just spreads the germs around more without doing much for the chicken.

      1. When I buy whole chickens, they come in those bag things (and I go through LOTS of chickens, feeding 2 80lb dogs!) I drain them into the sink, but never ever wash the chicken. It seems silly unless that tiny bit of viscous pink liquid freaks you out. I watch my dogs chew through raw spines and devour livers. Nothing much from the grocery store grosses me out (except the spines and skin in canned salmon - blech!)

        1 Reply
        1. re: LaureltQ

          thanks, all
          I guess you all agree that washing chicken has no point

        2. The USDA recommends that chicken not be washed. Here is a link to the recommendations for handling chicken:

          Draining the package into the sink should be followed by washing the sink. The recommendation against washing would apply, because the concern is that food served uncooked might be contaminated by falling into the sink and being retrieved.

          2 Replies
            1. re: GH1618

              Thanks for the link GH1618. Washing poultry was recommended back when I learned to cook. I'm glad to know I can stop doing it.

            2. Should we move on to washing mushrooms? :-}

              15 Replies
              1. re: sandylc

                put them loose in fridge til you want to use them...THEN, wash them, not before

                1. re: sylvan

                  Yes. There are still many people out there who believe the myth that mushrooms CANNOT BE WASHED at all.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    I always wash mushrooms and if that changes the texture a bit, so be it. I wash all produce to clean it before I eat it.

                    1. re: monavano

                      I always wash them, as well. It doesn't change anything. Alton Brown even TRIED to mess up mushrooms with washing and even soaking......he failed.

                      I don't know where that myth came from. From mushroom brush manufacturers, no doubt!

                      1. re: sandylc

                        It's amazing how inconsistent network chefs are. Some practically go apoplectic at the thought of washing mushrooms!

                        1. re: monavano

                          Are they supposed to be consistent? I guess I don't find it surprising that different cooks and different people have different opinions.

                          1. re: tommy

                            I think they should be. They're the big leagues.

                          2. re: monavano

                            That's true. Some still believe it, and some poo-poo it. I saw Jacques Pepin make fun of the myth once while he was washing his mushrooms.

                            1. re: monavano

                              You want inconsistent? I recently saw G. Ramsey pour olive oil on to a boiling pot of water he was boiling pasta in!!!! Bloody unbelievable!

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Not supposed to put oil in pasta water because it prevents the sauce from sticking to the pasta.

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    In theory, perhaps. In practical applications, not so much.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      You probably have a point. It's just what "they" say.

                      2. re: sylvan

                        I never wash mushrooms, unless they're picked in the wild and then it's just with a damp towel. Cultivated 'shrooms are grown in a sterile medium. If anything, I brush them off, but most mushrooms I purchase these days are pretty free of debris.

                        As for chicken, I never wash it, most always brine it and pat dry.